ASX-listed miner Prospect Resources is in the process of developing a $52, 5 million lithium project in Zimbabwe and latest indications from the latest prefeasibility study are that the project – Arcadia Lithium Project – could be operational next year.
The project is located on the outskirts of Harare, and the group says it “represents a globally significant hard rock lithium resource and has been aggressively developed focusing on near term production of petalite and spodumene concentrates.”
According to the group, “all local stakeholders have been consulted and have agreed to the proposed mine plan and development. In addition, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) issued Investment License Number 003496 to the Company which now provides the company with access to several fiscal and investment benefits and incentives.”
Prospect Resources, which also holds gold assets in the country, said it was practical to separate its gold assets from lithium assets into two separate subsidiary structures, each with their own ZIA license.
“The board believes that this structure will offer greater flexibility as to how the Arcadia Lithium Project can be financed and also how the company finances its gold assets.”
In a statement to the ASX, Prospect Resources chairman Mr Hugh Warner said: “We are now confident that Arcadia will have the ability to produce battery grade lithium, glass & ceramic grade lithium and tantalite products to the market by late 2018.
“Following Government environmental and financial approvals and coupled with the excellent results of this PFS, the development of Arcadia can now be fast tracked. This is undoubtedly supported by the very low startup costs, which further places Prospect at an advantage to its peers. Prospect can now actively pursue and execute off-take agreements and pursue funding options to develop this quality asset”
Basing on a maiden ore reserve of 15, 8 million tonnes, grading 1,34 percent lithium oxide and 125 parts per million tantalum pentoxide (according to the latest prefeasibility study), Prospect Resources anticipates that the project will be developed into a 1, 2 million-tonne-a-year mining and processing operation.
It’s also projected to have a mine life of 15 years. The miner has also proposed to construct a lithium chemical plant in the country.
“In tandem with the Arcadia PFS, the Company has initiated a PFS to evaluate the construction of a lithium chemical plant. The construction of a lithium chemical plant adjacent to the Arcadia mine has numerous benefits for both downstream consumers of lithium and the company.
“Processing of lithium chemicals from minerals is currently only carried out in China. Consumers have indicated a keenness to have geographical diversity of product. The lithium chemical market is also dominated by four major producers. The chemical plant at Arcadia Lithium Project provides an alternative source of feedstock for downstream lithium users.”
The group’s other assets locally are the Sally, Bucks Reef and Prestwood mines located in the Gwanda Greenstone Belt in south-west Zimbabwe, and the Penhalonga project in the Mutare Greenstone Belt in Eastern Zimbabwe.